How to Conduct and Prepare a Competitive Analysis in B2B
Competitive Analysis in B2B Marketing is the categorization and evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the current and potential competitors.
It is the process of researching your competitors to know about their position in the market as well as to acknowledge their performance in the B2B world. Competitive Analysis gives a clear idea of where you and your competition stand in the B2B world.
Conducting a successful Competitive Analysis is also helpful in finding out the latest trends in the market. It points out what’s working and what’s not. It also finds out the gaps in your business (if there are any) which is very helpful in bringing changes in the marketing and sales strategy to achieve new targets.
The Importance of Competitive/Competitor Analysis in B2B Marketing
Today, the B2B world follows a customer-centric approach. The customers of today’s time research about you and your competitors, find out the key points of your and their companies and then make the decision to choose one out of them.
Even a bit of edge can make the customer choose you over your competitor which can result in huge profits and even a long-term customer loyalty and relationship.
Now that we know the importance of Competitive Analysis in B2B Marketing, let’s start with the steps by which you can conduct a successful B2B competitive analysis.
1. Determine and Categorize Your Competitors
Start with finding out who really your competitors are. Once you determine your competitors, it’s time to categorize them into two categories –
● Direct Competitors.
● Indirect Competitors.
Direct Competitors: Businesses that sell products that can be easily used as a replacement for your products by the customers. They also operate in the same geographical regions.
Indirect Competitors: Businesses that sell products that are not similar but can satisfy similar customer needs.
To make it more clear, let’s take the example of two B2B sales and marketing consulting firms. DealsInsight, aka WE and Revenuezen, are both similar companies serving a similar audience.
Now comes the difference – the services. While we offer Marketing sales and also training in B2B, in the service offering Revenuezen, the third component is missing, i.e., Training.
This difference is tiny but can create a great impact on your positioning. Both the companies serve the same audience but in different ways. But there are also companies like Yatharthmarketing that only concentrate on sales training and nothing else. There’s no way either of them will benefit if we conduct a competitor analysis as the core service offerings are only missing.
Thus, companies should only conduct competitive analysis by focusing on direct competitors instead of indirect competitors.
Pro tip: Don’t neglect your indirect competitors entirely. The indirect brand can shift its focus at any time and also add to its service offerings. This makes it very important to conduct competitive analysis often.
2. Analyze their Sales Tactics and Marketing Efforts
Analyzing the sales tactics and marketing efforts of your competitors is extremely helpful in bringing useful ideas and insights to your sales and marketing team in their processes of dealing with the competition.
This information can be gained online from the annual reports of the publicly held businesses. But with privately owned businesses, things are different.
This can be done by CRM. Search those prospects who chose your competitors over you. If your company doesn’t record data, bring changes in your strategy and include asking questions to the prospects on why they consider your competitors over you.
Ask the leads open-ended questions during an interaction (when you still can have the sales) or through a form field (when you have already lost the sales). Ask questions like –
- What impression do they hold about your products?
- The reason for choosing another company, was it because they found the prices to be too high?
- What are the features that attracted the customer to make a purchase?
The answers to these questions can give information about what is working for your brand and what isn’t.
3. Check Their Websites for Getting an Idea of Their Marketing Efforts
The easiest way to get an idea of the efforts your competitors are making in their marketing? Have an in-depth analysis of their website.
Analyzing their website also gives an idea if your website is as structured, visually appealing, and easy to operate as theirs. A good website matters a lot in giving a professional impression to your customers.
It also gives you a dig into the kind of web page structures and design features that are working for them and if implementing them on your website can help.
Take these factors into account while in-depth analysis of their website –
- Do they have a blog strategy? If yes, then what type of topics do they cover?
- Do they have a FAQs section?
- Are they showcasing case studies?
- Do they have a podcast?
- What kind of CTAs do they use on their homepage?
- Are they using imagery to communicate their products to the visitors?
- What are the types of products offered by them? How are these products displayed on the website?
- What kind of offline and online campaigns are they running?
- Do they offer any media kit/kits on their website?
- Can you find any featured articles? If you do, what is making them impressive?
These factors are going to help you a lot in your B2B competitive analysis. Copy the links of these pages or features for future references.
4. Evaluate Their Social Media Presence and Strategies
Start with checking if your competitor has their presence on social media sites like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and finally Pinterest. Now, check their engagement rates by the followings –
- Number of followers
- Likes and shares on their posts
- Number of people engaging by going through the number of their comments
- Posting frequency
- Viral content
Once you check their online presence, it’s time to compare your online presence with theirs. If your company is not on one or more of the social media handles that they are operating, it’s time to check their engagement and the way they use the platform. Now, learn the ways these social media sites can help your business as well.
Just like their marketing strategy, their social media strategy holds great importance as well. Analyze their social media strategy by checking the following factors –
- Does their content drive visitors to their desired landing pages that result in new lead accumulation?
- Does their content include visual images that are inclined towards building brand awareness?
- Do they post original content?
- Do their followers respond to their content frequently or rarely?
- What is the tone of the kind of content they are posting?
- What is the tone of their interaction with the followers? Do they do this often or rarely?
Once you are done with analyzing the social media marketing strategy of one of your competitors, grade them according to their strategic quality. Then, grade others using the same grading scale. ṣ
Over to you…
Once you recognize the strengths and weak points of your competitors along with securing an overall grade for each of them, it’s time to compare their strengths, weaknesses, and grade level to yours to perform a clear competitive analysis.
Analyze the position of you and your competitors in the market. Bring relevant changes to rule further in the B2B world and eradicate the factors that are not helping your business.
However, if all this information is making you feel overwhelmed and you feel lost about where to start, don’t hesitate to seek help from expert B2B sales and marketing consulting firms. They not only show you the right way ahead but also guarantee success with a foolproof plan.
Do you also want to do a foolproof B2B competitive analysis? Contact us today and we will do the rest!